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Kids Will Be Kids, And That’s Okay

, , , , , | Working | October 20, 2021

My daughter was about two and a half years old. We were in Bavaria on holiday and I took her to a nearby town for a bit of a stroll and window-shopping. We came across one of those very expensive dolly shops for collectors. Everything was just beautiful, a paradise for children, but none of the items were for children. Ridiculous as it sounds, all those wonderful dolls, clothes, little dollhouses, and carriages were for the adults to buy and stare at while dusting them.

The shop assistant was watching with horror as the only child in a toy shop was squealing with delight, pointing at various pieces she loved. I didn’t let her touch them. I didn’t want her to break any of them, but surely she was allowed to admire them?

Suddenly, she threw herself on the ground and started crawling forward on her belly.

Me: “What are you doing there, sweetie?”

Daughter: “I’m a snail, Mum, and I’m trying to get around the shop!”

The shop assistant was apoplectic while people were watching her with a smile. I just put down the two little figures I wanted to buy her as a memory and we left. The shop assistant probably fainted with relief when we were gone, leaving him with his distinguished clientele.

Feeling Troubled Leads To Trouble

, , , , , | Related | October 16, 2021

Three-Year-Old: “I’M IN TROUBLE!”

Spouse: “What’s going on?”

Me: “She’s upset because I won’t go play with her upstairs.”

Spouse: “Is she in trouble?”

Me: “No, she’s upset to the same degree she is upset when she gets herself into trouble. She thinks that ‘in trouble’ means the level of upset she feels when I tell her she’s in trouble, not the consequences of that level of upset.”

Spouse: “Ah.”

Me: “Give her a minute. If she and I can’t come to an agreement on a place to play that doesn’t involve deadlifting children, she’ll start shouting and get into actual trouble instead of just feeling like it.”

It’s A Tough Bridge To Cross, But She Did It!

, , , , , , , | Related | October 11, 2021

My mother suffered a terrible crash in the early 1990s that should have killed her but, for whatever reason, didn’t. It was off a low-water bridge and as a result, she went through a phase for over a decade of being terrified of driving over bridges. It lessened with time, but the one bridge that still terrifies her to this day is the bridge over the Mississippi River from Arkansas to Tennessee, which is unfortunate because she would have to drive over it to take me to visit my father as a child.

As I grew up, she refused to let me drive the trip because it was best for her to remain in control of the car while going over the bridge. But when my father died, we had to bring home several antiques in a moving van, which one of us had to drive, so she agreed to let me drive the trip for the first and only time.

On the way to the funeral, about a half-hour from the bridge, Mom is on her phone, reading an article about the history of the area, and she starts reading it aloud to me. I figure she’s doing this to distract and calm herself, so I tune her out and focus on driving. I get over the bridge and get to the eastern outskirts of Memphis when she finally looks up again.

Mom: “Uh… where are we?!”

Me: “We are [miles] from Nashville.”

Mom: “Did you cross the bridge?”

Me: “Kinda had to, yes. You were reading to distract yourself; I didn’t want to bother you.”

Mom: “I was just enjoying the article; I had no idea we even crossed the bridge!”

And then, on the way back, we’re trying to make the trip in one go because I have to be at work the next afternoon. Mom is driving the moving van, and we’re coordinating through our phones. About two hours east of Memphis, she calls me and asks me to pull over at the next gas station.

Mom: “You’ll have to call in to work; we need to stop for the night.”

Me: “Why?”

Mom: “The bridge is coming up and I just need a night’s rest. It’s dark and I’d rather it be daylight when we try.”

Me: “No, we’re going on, and we’re crossing tonight.”

Mom: “What?!”

Me: “It’s two in the morning. It’ll be four when we get there. There’s going to be no one driving. The bridge is lit up. We can get on the inside lane and go as slow as you need, because there will be no traffic to slow down. If you can’t see the water, you can tell yourself you’re driving on solid land. It’s going to actually be easier. If we stop, we stop in Arkansas.”

Mom: “I don’t know…”

Me: “Look, you can get a motel room for the night. I’ll see you at home.”

We cross the river, on the phone with each other the entire way, and we finally pull over at a large truck stop in West Memphis.

Mom: “I can’t believe I never thought of that before! That’s the easiest I have ever made that trip!”

Me: “Yeah, I have a lot of anxieties and phobias, and that’s how I always force myself past them.”

Communicating With Toddlers Isn’t All Black And White

, , , , , | Related | October 8, 2021

Me: “What do you want for breakfast? Oatmeal? Eggs? Yogurt? Peanut butter and jelly?”

Toddler: “I want white and black.”

Me: “What’s ‘white and black’?”

Toddler: “It’s white and black!”

Me: “Maybe you’d better show me.”

My toddler opens the fridge and points at the plain yogurt.

Toddler: “White.”

My toddler points at some homemade cherry jam.

Toddler: “Black.”

Me: “Oh, you want cherry yogurt, like what Daddy made you for breakfast last weekend!”

Toddler: *Happily* “White and black!”

Me: “We’d better take a picture to send to your father so he knows what it is when you ask him for it again.”

Did She Ever Play “Don’t Wake Daddy”?

, , , , , | Related | October 6, 2021

My toddler is three. I also have a newborn and am still recovering from pregnancy and labor. Dad sets two alarms so he can prepare himself to actually get up in the morning. I have to get up at the first alarm in order to get both children and myself ready on time.

Me: “Come on, sweetie. Time to get up. Take Dad to work.”

Toddler: “I’m still sleepy.”

Me: “You can sleep in the car. Come on, go pee.”

Toddler: “Sleeeepy…”

Me: “If you don’t hurry, Dad will be late for work.”

Toddler: “I want to go back to sleep.”

Me: “You should have gone to bed when I told you to last night. It’s time to get up to take Dad to work or we won’t have the car.”

Toddler: “Nooo!”

Me: “Either you get up now and come with me to take Dad to work or you’re grounded. That means no TV, no treats, no juice, no playing outside, and no going to the store or the park.”

By that point, Dad was already up and we were going to be late even if she got out of bed right then.

Me: “Short of moving her bodily, I’m not going to be able to get her ready. And I still have to get myself ready and feed the baby and get him ready, too.”

Dad: “It’s going to be too much trouble for you and I have to leave right away, anyway. She’s just going to have to figure it out the hard way.”

Later that morning:

Toddler: “Can I watch [TV Show #1]?”

Me: “No. Eat your breakfast.”

Toddler: “Can I watch [TV Show #2]?”

Me: “No. You’re grounded. You don’t get any TV today.”

Toddler: “Ride my bike?”

Me: “No. You’re grounded. You didn’t take Daddy to work. You’re in trouble.”

Now, when it’s time to take Daddy to work, she gets up promptly. She even goes in to “help” and get Daddy up, poor guy.